December 1, 2009

Unusual Tales - Storm's Warning

"Unusual Tales", a series presenting Steve Ditko's comics from 1957 to 1959 that are in the public domain.

As I mentioned recently, one of the first recurring features that Ditko drew more than one story for was for the BLACK FURY series from Charlton.  Right around the same time he also did several stories for a very similar series, ROCKY LANE'S BLACK JACK.  Allan "Rocky" Lane was a prolific western actor of the era, including a long series of films where he actually played a character named Rocky Lane.  That must have been a stretch...  The films also launched a long-running comic book, first from Fawcett and then picked up by Charlton.  It must have done well for them, as Charlton launched a spin-off featuring Rocky Lane's horse, Black Jack, in his solo adventures, and Ditko drew several stories for that series, some featuring Black Jack and some generic horse-focused westerns.

ROCKY LANE'S BLACK JACK #25 [1958] includes the 5-page Black Jack story "Storm's Warning", which shows that the horse has some very useful weather forecasting abilities, and keeps quite busy with a young friend when not working with Rocky.  A cute little story, I especially like the lightning storm on the first page.

But before you get to the story, some links to check out:Buy Ditko's creator-owned work
Many great comics, catch up now
Find out about the fanzine DITKOMANIA
#76 now available
Check out new and upcoming Ditko publications
Creeper creeping closer
Download public domain comics, likely including the one this story is from
Scans in this series generally adapted to my personal tastes from those copies

Click images to cowboy size


1 comment:

  1. FYI: The Rocky Lane comic book was originally published by Fawcett Publishing, beginning in 1949. At that time, Allan Lane had been a Republic western star for some time. He had been in serials, before taking off the Red Ryder role from Wild Bill Elliott. When the RR series was discontinued, Lane was featured in his own series as a federal marshal, using the name "Rocky Lane." His horse Blackjack had formerly been Red Ryder's horse Thunder. Lane's western series ended in 1953. At this time, Fawcett had been involved in a lawsuit with National DC Comics over whether Captain Marvel ("Shazam") was a copyright infringement of Superman. When the courts ruled in DC's favor, Fawcett had discontinue many of their comic magazines, including the Rocky Lane series. Lash LaRue, which had been a Fawcett comic,was also obtained by the Charlton publishing company. Both the Lash LaRue and Rocky Lane comics were continued, even their movies were no longer showing at the local movie theaters.



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